Fastest, largest and the deadliest venomous snake!
The Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is considered the most dangerous snake in Sub-Saharan area of Africa.
It is not the most venomous, but it definitely has the worst reputation among all snake species in the world. It grows up to 4.5 meters, but the most common length range between 2 and 3 meters, which makes it the largest venomous snake at the whole African continent.
Except being the largest it is also the fastest and the most aggressive snake in the world! It moves quickly and unpredictable. When it feels threatened, Black Mamba is able to reach the maximum speed of around 20 kph, faster than the average human can run! Although there aren’t any documented cases, an African people believe that Black Mamba tends to chase its pray moving this fast. Of course, every snake will use its maximum speed when escaping the danger, but imagine yourself running through the savanna field with an angry, 3 meters long snake chasing you… No wonder Africans shake when even mentioning the name of this predator.
One of the most interesting facts about this reptile is its name… Black Mamba isn’t black at all. The base color of this snake is gray but sometimes it might contain yellowish, brown or even green shades. “Black Mamba” name came from the mouth color which is something between dark blue and black.
Black Mamba’s Venom
Black Mamba’s venom is one of the strongest neurotoxins out there, capable of killing adult human in only half an hour. It attacks central nervous system, shutting down the major organs one by one. Only two drops of this deadly cocktail is enough to cause a certain death, once it reaches the bloodstream. Black Mamba’s fangs are small (up to 6.5mm), thin and very sharp. Only a small scratch made by these lethal fangs are enough to kill a person. They are connected to the venom glands full of deadly liquid. When it strikes, Black Mamba is able to deliver up to 400 mg of venom in a single bite, but the most common amount ranges between 100 and 120 mg.
Kiss of Death
When it bites, it usually strikes several times, aiming to the same area in order to deliver as much venom as possible. African natives are so afraid of this beast, they use the term “Kiss of death” for Black Mamba’s bite.
Before antivenom was invented, Black Mamba bites were 100% lethal. Even today, thousands of people die when being bitten since there are many places in Africa where it is very hard to find a medical assistance.
What it feels when being bitten by Black Mamba?
Survivors describe this bite as one of the worst experience in their lives. First symptom of neurotoxin spreading through the bloodstream is a tingling sensation around the wound. In just a few minutes, this unpleasant sensation spreads through the whole body, like thousands of insects are crawling under the skin. Victim begins to experience increased salivation, sweating, “coppery” taste in the mouth and the lack of coordination. During the next half an hour, situation becomes very serious. Chest pain, difficult breathing, muscular seizure and paralysis occurs, followed by unbearable pain spreading through the whole body. After a while, victim is unable to move, talk, even to stay conscious. Urinary and fecal incontinence may also occur. If antivenom is not administered at the time, death is inevitable in the next few hours.